Global Corporations Should Increase Donations to Efforts Aimed at Providing HIV-Positive People With Antiretrovirals, Opinion Piece Says
Although it "doesn't take much to save the life of a person living with HIV," there are 40 million people living with HIV worldwide, which means there are "40 million lives that need saving," Laurent Fischer, who serves on the board of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, writes in a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece. According to Fischer, the global investment firm Goldman Sachs recently announced that it is offering a "staggering" $16.4 billion bonus pool for its employees -- a "figure that exceeds all corporate donations to charity in 2005" and that nearly equals the "entire worldwide amount spent annually to fight" the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Although it is "possible that global businesses," such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, "believe that global problems like poverty and AIDS are being taken care of by the likes of" Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder Bill Gates, former President Clinton and Irish musician Bono, one "could hardly blame them" because the "road to hell, or indifference, seems paved with celebrity good intentions," Fischer writes. He adds, "For all their good works, celebrities and their media omnipresence can lead us all to believe, falsely, that the problems of the world are being solved." According to Fisher, $16.4 billion is "enough money for the global AIDS community to provide lifesaving treatment to everyone on the planet who currently needs it," and 1% of the Goldman Sachs bonus pool, or $164 million, would "provide AIDS drugs for hundreds of thousands of patients on waiting lists for treatment in the developing world." He adds, "In an age when charity has become more of a business venture than an act of simply humanity, is it too much to expect multibillion dollar global investment companies to invest in ... human life without expecting anything in return?" (Fischer, San Jose Mercury News, 12/31/06).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.